eBay is picking the brains of buyers in its Business & Industrial category, a possible indication it will be the next area to get eBay's "vertical" treatment after rolling out changes in categories like sneakers and trading cards.
According to a reader who took the survey, eBay explained it was doing the research "for business purposes."
The invitation explained that Quadrangle was an independent research company conducting the survey on eBay's behalf. "This survey will cover the buying or selling of equipment/accessories, tools and supplies for sectors such as industrial, office, heavy machinery, medical, healthcare, restaurants and kitchens."
The reader speculated that eBay might be wanting to take away business from sites like Office Max or Staples.
But interestingly, its rival Amazon has a program it launched in 2015 specifically geared toward B2B buyers. Amazon Business offers special business-friendly features such as invoicing - and participants can subscribe to Business Prime, which offers 3 levels of membership (Duo at $69/year for 1 user; Essentials at $179/year for up to 3 users; and Small at $499/year for up to 10 users).
And, as we reported earlier this week, Amazon Business is holding an event next month called re:Shape 2021
where it will business buyers and procurement specialists how to save time and money buying online.
As eBay faces competition in key industries ("verticals") such as sneakers, it has been more open to loosening its "one size fits all" approach.
The survey of business buyers - which is offering a sweepstakes with a grand prize of $500 as an incentive for completing the survey - could be a clue that eBay could be exploring possible changes to its Business & Industrial category.
Its own sellers may be eBay best business customers - many purchase supplies and packing materials on the platform. We have wondered if that will change at all as sellers enrolled into Managed Payments can't move sales proceeds into PayPal.
Tell us where you buy your business supplies and if it makes sense for eBay to do more to attract business buyers and procurement specialists to the site.